COLBERT Treadmill Headed for ISS

Pete Gauthier, a packing engineer for United Space Alliance, prepares the COLBERT treadmill and its parts for loading into the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo in preparation for launch to the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller
Pete Gauthier, a packing engineer for United Space Alliance, prepares the COLBERT treadmill and its parts for loading into the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo in preparation for launch to the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller

NASA MISSION UPDATE

On Earth, we all know that exercise is good for us. But do we know exactly how good?

The situation is similar on the International Space Station. Astronauts and cosmonauts have been working out on orbit for close to 10 years, and researchers believe the exercise is a good countermeasure for the bone and muscle density loss that occurs when humans live for a long time without gravity.

But the exercise equipment on the station doesn’t have the ability to record details about the workouts. Two new workout tools do have that capability. One, the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device, is on orbit already. A second is being delivered on the STS-128 shuttle mission.

The Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill, or COLBERT, will be the second treadmill on the space station, adding to a complement of six different exercise devices already in orbit that range from stationary bicycles to resistive exercise devices.

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NASA Unveils COLBERT Treadmill

NASA's COLBERT Treadmill
NASA's COLBERT Treadmill

NASA PRESS RELEASE

NASA is serious about its space station crew members exercising in orbit, but that doesn’t mean the agency can’t have a little fun along the way.

That’s why a treadmill engineers had called simply T-2 for more than two years is suddenly famous as the Combined Operational Load-Bearing External Resistance Treadmill, or COLBERT. NASA selected the treadmill’s name after comedian and host Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” took interest during the Node 3 naming census and urged his followers to post the name “Colbert,” which received the most entries.

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Will NASA Name Node 3 After Colbert’s Arch Rival?

I’m hoping that Sunita Williams goes on The Colbert Report tomorrow and announces that NASA has decided to name Node 3 “Manilow.” This would shock Stephen into complete silence – perhaps for the first time.

Of course, I’m talking about singer Barry Manilow, who beat out Colbert for an Emmy Award a couple of years back. Colbert has laughingly cursed out Manilow from time to time on his satirical late-night show.

What’s in a Name? Lots of Laughs, for One

Some interesting stories in this week’s edition of The Space Review:

The Ares 1-X test flight: crunch time for Constellation
Later this year NASA plans to carry out the first test launch of the Ares 1 rocket that will be a cornerstone of Project Constellation. Taylor Dinerman discusses what’s on the line for NASA with this launch.

NASA gets pwned online
In an effort to better engage with the public, NASA has held some online competitions in recent weeks to name an ISS module and select the “greatest mission” in the agency’s history. Jeff Foust examines how a comedian and some overzealous voters kept things from going how the agency might have planned.

Colbert Crisis Update: SFF Supports Comedian

PRESS RELEASE

The Space Frontier Foundation urged NASA to respect the results of a nationwide contest to name a new waste re-cycling module for the International Space Station (ISS). The Foundation proposed using either the first or second place winners of the contest: “The Colbert” (for the popular comedian) or “Serenity” (for the popular sci-fi television and film) as the official name for the module, whose purpose is to re-cycle human waste products and is the first of its kind to be flown in space.

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